Netherlands-Vietnam economic cooperation remains potential

10:10 | 06/09/2014 Cooperation

(VEN) - At a meeting between Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa and a delegation from the Netherlands’ Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation headed by Chairman Raymond De Roon, Ho Thi Kim Thoa and Raymond De Roon said that opportunities to promote trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands would be large, especially in a context where a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU is due to be signed in the near future.

Vietnam-EU FTA plays a key role

Vietnam’s exports to the Netherlands have recorded good growth since 2002, reaching 15 percent per year. In 2013, two-way trade turnover between the two countries reached US$3.615 billion. The Netherlands remain Vietnam’s third largest market in Europe after Germany and the UK. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s statistics, in the first seven months of this year, total bilateral trade turnover reached US$2.354 billion.

Vietnam’s key exports to the Netherlands consist of footwear, garments, cashew nuts, pepper, coffee, seafood, fruit and vegetables, processing wood and wood products while it imports milk and dairy products, pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical raw materials, iron and steel, plastic materials, animal feed, raw materials and chemicals.

Bilateral trade turnover between the two countries will increase in the coming time, especially in a context where a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU is due to be signed. This free trade agreement has gone through eight rounds of negotiations and the ninth round is expected to take place in September in Vietnam. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said that Vietnam-EU FTA would help Vietnamese businesses deeply enter the market.

All parties are determined to finalize the agreement. “Vietnam has actively and positively cooperated with the EU to promote negotiations in accordance with outlined schedule,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said. In addition, the deputy minister also suggested the Netherlands to support Vietnam in rounds of negotiations.

Creating favorable conditions

The Netherlands has always been one of Vietnam’s largest European investors in recent years. In the first seven months of this year, the Netherlands ranked 11th among 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with a total capital of US$6.4 billion in 214 projects.

The Netherlands’ key projects in Vietnam consist of the Mong Duong Power Plant, Phu My Power Plant, Vietnam Pepsico Company and Metro-Cash Carry. Almost all projects are mainly carried out in the southern provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Binh Duong. In addition to a number of large investment projects, other investment projects remain small and medium. Many investment projects are operating effectively such as Heineken, Unilever’s detergent, Royal Dutch Shell’s oil and gas, Foremost’s milk, Akzo Nobel Coating’s pharmaceuticals and Philips’ electronics.

Raymond De Roon said that the Netherlands were keen on understanding Vietnam’s investment policies for small and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the deputy minister, Vietnam was actively implementing privatization of 432 state-owned enterprises in the 2014-2015 period and perfecting the law to promote the development of private enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Many support programs for those enterprises in order to improve the competitiveness, enhance management capacity and expand the market will be introduced soon.

Vietnam will create the best conditions to welcome foreign investment flow into the country. The deputy minister suggested that the two sides should continue promoting cooperation in the fields of climate change, water management, agriculture and energy./.

By Hoa Le